November 27, 2023|In Christian Living, Mental Health|4 Comments|9 Minutes

10 Ways To Help Rough Sleepers This Winter

1. Take Action

It’s easy to bypass a rough sleeper who specifically asks for help. It’s tempting to believe that someone else will do it. But what if their request is an assignment just for you? When we water, feed, clothe and shelter the poor, it is as if we are feeding God Himself. (See Matthew 25:34-40)Try to help in any way you can. If you don’t have exactly what they’ve asked for, offer something like a sandwich or a drink instead.

2. Don’t Judge.

There are many genuine reasons why people choose not to help the homeless. One of the common comments I hear is that ‘homelessness is self-inflicted’ or something along those lines. But the truth is, there’s an endless list of possible reasons outside of the control of a rough sleeper that could have caused their situation. So the best approach is to be empathetic towards rough sleepers as you never know what led them to that position.

3. Use Wisdom.

Let’s face it. Not everyone who approaches you will be a genuine rough sleeper. But they still may be genuinely in need, so here’s how I handle it.

Often when someone asks for money I ask them if they would like something to eat or drink. If they say ‘yes’ then I ask them what they’d like and go ahead and buy it. If they say ‘no’ I ask them what they want the money for and if I can still meet the need, i.e. they need a pair of gloves, then I try to meet that need.

However, it is not always that straight-forward. If a person says ‘no’ for a reason like, they need to raise money for transport or a room for the night, I exercise more caution. I have to say here, and this is just me, but if the person says ‘no’ and they give me a reason that I feel is not genuine, I often give them some change but less than I would someone who I feel is genuine, after all, we have to use discernment. Note, I’m not judging the person for their position, I’m just taking pre-caution in how I steward my resources.

4. Take Time To Talk.

When you have a moment, ask a homeless person how they are. They are often happy to talk and as one word leads to another, you might find yourself having a meaningful conversation. You never know, your words may change the entire course of their direction. Give it a try sometime.

Rough Sleepers UK
Rough Sleepers UK - Christian Blog Post
Rough Sleepers UK - Christian Blog Post - Matthew 25:37-39

5. Pray.

Make time to pray for the homeless in your quiet time at home and also pray with the homeless.

Matthew 4:4 
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Feeding is not the end goal when it comes to supporting rough sleepers. We want to see them transformed and the best way that they can be helped is through the power of God. Prayer is the most important thing we can do for them, so make it a priority.

6. Signpost.

Signposting (informing about external services available) is a good way to make use of the wider resources that are available for the homeless. For the general public, feeding and clothing is the least that we can do, but there is also a need for progress. Every area is different but it’d be a good idea to familiarise yourself with your local support services. Find out your local council offer for the homeless, housing services, hostels, independent homeless support services, you’ll be amazed what options are out there!

7. Stand In The Gap.

I personally believe that we are all called to support the homeless with the means that we have, however, there are different levels to this support. You may be called to just meet the needs of the people you come across or you may be called to work on a deeper level to address the problem of homelessness. Be sensitive to the level of support God is impressing on your heart and be faithful with it. He will provide as you faithfully take action.

Stand in the Gap for Rough Sleepers UK - Christian Blog Post

8. Waste Not.

What do you do with your excess time or food? Maybe you could offer your services as a volunteer to support your local food bank? Or maybe you often find yourself with excess food that you can donate to a food bank? Or even use those extra vegetables to make soups to distribute to the homeless? You could also use apps like ‘Olio’ to share excess food amongst those who need it.

9. Protect Yourself.

Take care to protect yourself as well as the homeless.

Some simple cautionary measures:

  • Don’t go on a homeless outreach alone
  • Do not wake the homeless if they are sleeping
  • Do not give out personal information such as your address
  • Speak from a safe (but sociable) distance
  • Take care when approaching a group of homeless people
  • Avoid showing cash

10. Don’t Miss Out On Your Blessing!

When you bless others, you are blessing yourself. The Bible is very clear on this fact.

Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

This Blog is a revised and condensed version from of Blog post 10 Ways To Join The Mission On Your Doorstep from 2019. Read the full original version HERE

Christian Blog guest writer


Mauwena is a Believer, a Wife, Homeschool Mum and Life Coach. She helps women who want to grow in their purpose and use their creativity to impact the world.

Mawuena graduated from The University of Northampton with a BA Honours Degree in Business Entrepreneurship and Education Studies. She spent the early part of her career as an Educator within schools before transitioning to a Business Manager and Charity co-ordinator which gave her the insight for this blog post.Mawuena loves learning about YAH’s Word, writing, travelling, designing in various forms, encouraging and being Mum to her two little explorers.

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Leave a comment below signposting to services in your area. Or maybe you or someone you know has experienced rough sleeping, and you can shed some light or share some encouragement that helps others.

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